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Healthiest Summer Sangria Recipes

Posted on 11 January 2018

Sangria is the drink that makes summer ten times better than it already is. Perfect for night gatherings as well as a fantastic daytime or picnic drink, the Spanish punch is the perfect combination of wine and fruit. Its sweet flavour and freshness are bound to keep you refilling your glass. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this delicious drink - from its origins to the healthiest summer sangria recipes.

What is sangria?

You could say sangria came to be by accident - as traditional sangria goes way back as wine mixed with whatever was nearby (sugar or spices), in Greece and Rome. People who lived in what is nowadays Spain were doing something similar with grapevines planted by the Phoenicians. As time went by, variations of the traditional sangria became common, including adding citrus fruit to it. By the 1700s and 1800s, sangria was well-known in the rest of Europe and different recipes were made in France and England.

Wines good for sangria

While early-days sangria was made from red wine (after all, 'sangre' is the Spanish word for blood), nowadays you can find delicious sangria recipes with rose and white wine as well. Whichever one you choose, make sure it isn't expensive and dry. Any affordable wine for the Bottle-O at Pialba Place is a good candidate - as the different fruits that you add to it will give the extra, unique flavour.

When it comes to red wines, you could go with Rioja wine from Spain, or any Malbec or Merlot for a sweeter taste. In the white wine category, think Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris.

Fruits good for sangria

You can use any fruit in sangria, although anything citrus, like oranges and lemons, seem to be present in every recipe. Other choices include cherries, peaches, strawberries, mangoes, apples, papaya, pineapple and spices like cloves and cinnamon. You can find a range of fresh, seasonal fruit at Coles in Pialba Place. While the choice of fruit is tied to personal preference, it's always a good idea to consider the type of wine you're using and pick a fruit to pair accordingly. You should aim to add between one and two cups of fruit per pint of sangria.

How to make sangria

As a general rule, buy a couple of bottles of wine, and try using a combination of colours. Some like to add extra alcohol, usually spirits. If this is the case, you should always aim to make it one part spirit to five parts wine.

How to make red sangria

Red sangria is probably the obvious choice when preparing this fresh punch. For basic sangria, you'll need a 750ml bottle of red wine, ¼ cup orange liqueur, ½ cup brandy, 2 apples, 2 oranges and 2-3 cups cold sparkling water.

The procedure is pretty straightforward:

  • Cut the oranges and apples into thin slices or wedges, leaving the peel on, and transfer it into a pitcher.
  • Then, add the brandy, followed by the orange liqueur and the wine.
  • Stir it all, cover the pitcher with a piece of cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; preferably overnight. This process will allow for the fruit to infuse the wine. Sangria gets softer, sweeter and much better overnight.
  • The next day, and when you're ready to serve, top with sparkling water and stir it gently to combine.

How to make white sangria

For white sangria, you'll need a 750ml bottle of white wine, 3 oranges cut into wedges, 1 lemon cut into wedges, 1 lime cut into wedges, ½ cup of brandy and 2-3 cups of cold sparkling water.

The preparing process is much like making red sangria; follow the same steps, making sure you remove all seeds from the citrus fruits, let is chill overnight and add the sparkling water just before serving.

Health considerations

Let's talk about health and sangria! While the occasional glass of sangria isn't likely to have an impact on your health either way, any alcohol you have in excess is not good for your health. That said, it's wise to get all the facts before making it your alcoholic beverage of choice, as red wine can be healthy. Drinking moderate amounts can slightly boost your levels of high-density lipoprotein (the healthy cholesterol), resulting in a reduction in your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Keep in mind a maximum of 150ml serving of red wine per day is recommended, and that has 125 calories and almost 4 grams of carbs.

There are simple tips and tricks to make your sangria as healthy as possible. If the recipe says to add flavoured soda that contains sugar, replace it with sparkling water. In addition, if the recipe features added sugar, ignore it. The fruit should provide all the natural sugar sangria needs to taste sweet and delicious.

Summer, picnics and sangria go hand-in-hand. Enjoy the sunny days with friends a glass of fruity punch in your hand. While the type of wine and fruits you choose to make your sangria with come down to personal preference, always keep in mind to leave it resting overnight in the fridge to let the flavours sink in and to avoid extra sugar and soda for a guilt-free drinking.

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